Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Seis 'til the States!

Hermana Stone & Hermana Law (I was friends with Hma Law at BYU this summer)
Okay so Halloween was decent this year! All the guys in mi casa got packages from their parents full of candy or Krispy Kreme donuts! We had a fiesta! For Halloween I got creative and bought a white tie from the tienda-only 10 pesos, so like less than a dollar- and drew on it!
I was going to wear it, but got chastised for even thinking about it! I also got chastised this week for having stickers on the back of my name-tag so I took them all off....except the In-N-Out one haha! AND, to top it off, I learned that "crap" as in "it smells like crap here" is a bad word in Mexico. And, also got chastised for saying it. So Mexico City smells super bad, like sewage and poop (or C___P). So this rain this last week has been a blessing. It got rid of the smell for like a whole day!! (It's the little things). 

The new districts are having such a tough time with Spanish. It makes sense that one is bad because they got here a week ago, but the other one has been here a month. We have been designated to help them out a little bit too. There is an Elder who literally breaks down everyday from the district that has been here a month. It is really sad. We are here to learn how to teach people better and how to connect with investigators and Spanish is only second to that. He and his comp taught me as their investigator- we have to use investigator profiles, so I used Alec's of course. This Elder had his head down the whole time. I tried helping him out and afterwards talked to him and tried to encourage him and shared my experiences with Spanish and teaching here in the MTC. He is doing a little better but has so much work. I'm so glad that I learned how to be a leader in high school, and how to look at things with perspective. I'm so grateful I have had teachers that were good examples to me, both at Great Oak and in church.

In other news, David Archuleta's sister is here! Little bit star struck lol. I said hi to her in the comedor yesterday and then proceeded to spill my cup of water all over my tray hahaha. My comps in my district have given me the name 'trippy' because I spill food on my shirts and ties EVERY DAY, plus I have rolled both ankles multiple times, just walking. Thank goodness for an ankle brace! 

On Sunday I shared my testimony in Spanish, again! It was like 3 minutes long with no notes, so it was cool! Elder Rodriguez, our fluent Colombian, said he understood it. Sundays are chill days in the MTC! We do a lot of studying. Elder Allen is our zone leader and he is super awesome. We talked football for a while which was so nice since nobody else really can here! He is the one that was on my floor at BYU this summer and I am super bummed I did not know that! He is a great leader and I have been learning from him while I have been here.

Monday was picture day! So every Sunday after the movie, we have a short presentation of the missionaries leaving the MTC. They put pictures up of their district and after, we sing " Para Siempre Dios Este Con Vos" (God be with you till we meet again). We call it being- hasta ver'd. I think all the people in our family that went Spanish speaking for missions would know what that is. So that is me this Sunday!! woo!

One hobby of some of the Elders is to break the pesos. The peso has a gold or bronze color circle in the middle and a silver ring on the outside. They throw them against the corner of a ground and wall and they break apart into two pieces. People have been making keychains and necklaces from them haha. And crickets, we have so many! We kill them by whipping them with a towel, and some other guys in another district line them up against the wall after they are dead. I was going to take a picture, but the cleaners cleaned them up!

Okay to close up, I am so grateful to be serving in the states and I never thought I would say that. Mexico smells and the food has literally destroyed my insides (sorry for the visual). The people are great, but I feel so secluded form the world here. But, I have made so many friends here and have gotten to know some others I already knew, a little better.

Pensimiento espiritual: Read Moroni 9:6 and Jacob 1:19. Talks a lot about the importance to be diligent in missionary work. Also another scripture reminded me of my farewell. Alma 38:2, the context is Alma and his farewell to his son Shiblon. He says, " I trust that I shall have great joy in you because of your steadiness and faithfulness unto God; for as you have commenced in your youth to look to the Lord your God, even so I hope that you will continue in keeping his commandments, for blessed is he that endureth to the end." This is me leaving the nest. Mom and Dad, you have taught me correct principles and all that you can hope for is that I remember what I have learned these last 18 years of my life to use them for the rest of my life, to bless others and continue in the strait and narrow path to eternal life. This made me think of dad in particular because of the bond Alma and his son, Shiblon had, and the father-son bond we have. This bond in the scriptures is so powerful. Alma was an amazing prophet and missionary. I want to teach and say things with the same power he did, and I know eventually I will be able to. On top of that, Alma in Spanish means soul, which is no coincidence!

One more thing my comp showed me: 
Mision (mission in Spanish)
Mi / Sion

In Spanish, this says "My Zion." We are here to convert others and through this, also to convert ourselves. This is a time to show the Lord what we've got. Zion is the perfect place, so make our missions a personal zion.

Next letter, I will be in South Carolina!!!! Friends and family, I miss you guys! Hasta Ver! 

~Elder McLaughlin
(You can now send him packages & snail mail letters-- 
address is on the right of his blog:))
concrete houses on all the hills surrounding us-- it's so sick at night!
One of the only good food items here... plus they have different colors of rice every day!

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